The Best 800 Number Services For Entrepreneurs
In this article, we'll compare three of the best 800 number services, answer common questions, and provide valuable coupons. I've been using Grasshopper since 2011, and I know several colleagues who also like Phone.com and RingCentral.com. Having an 800 number can create a big business, national image—for any size company. Read on to find out why they're useful and how to get your own 800 number!
Why should I use an 800 number?
- Credibility: makes your business seem larger and more established
- Memorable: get a vanity number they won't forget like 1-800-COLLECT
- Remote friendly: redirect business calls to remote employees anywhere
- Travel friendly: forward business calls to your cell phone anywhere you are
- Text capability: text customers from a business number, not your personal number
- VoIP advantages: speed, security, data capabilities, cloud storage, analytics
- Professional greeting: “Press 1 for sales, 2 for customer service, etc.”
- Hold music: keep your customers dancing!
Frequently asked questions about 800 number services:
How much do the best 800 number services cost?
The best 800 number services range in price from around $10/month to $50+, depending on how many lines you need, how many minutes, and additional add-on features. Keep an eye out for the number of included minutes. You can always upgrade later, but think about opting for an unlimited minutes package. Also keep in mind monthly versus annual billing. A lot of the best 800 number services will give you a deal if you pay for the whole year at a time.
Do you have to be a major corporation to have an 800 number?
Nope! That's exactly what this whole article is about—ANYONE can get an 800 number by using one of the best 800 number services that we review, or there are a handful of other services too.
Can I get the features of an 800 number service but use a local number?
Yep! Some folks prefer a local number, especially if you’re a restaurant or some sort of vendor where a local source or local office is important to your customers. You can still get the professional features like a professional greeting menu (press 1 for reservations, etc.), call forwarding/redirecting, and the ability to choose your own number, AND still have a local prefix.
Can I get a local vanity number that isn't an 800 number?
Sure can! All of the best 800 number services provide local numbers and local vanity numbers. You may have to be creative and flexible to find a vanity number that is still available.
What is the difference between 800, 888, 877, 866, 855, 844, 833 numbers?
Nothing really. The different toll-free prefixes all work the same. The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) released more prefixes when the 1-800 numbers were running out.
What does it mean to be toll free?
Toll free means that the caller will not be charged for the call. This was mainly a big deal before cell phones, when your landline was charged for long distance calls or if you needed to use a public telephone booth but didn't have any coins to activate it.
Does having an 800 number work well for remote workers?
YES. Using an 800 number for your business is especially valuable these days for the ability to direct calls to a team of remote workers anywhere. The world is moving toward a landscape of remote workers, and a reliable VoIP service may be the link you need to make remote-working work for your business.
Will an 800 number have a professional greeting and extensions menu?
Yes, you can set up a greeting menu to direct calls to different departments or employees. “Press 1 for sales, press 2 for customer service, or press three to speak with Lindsay.” You can also add hold music while your callers wait!
What is VoIP?
VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. It is a different system than how your normal cell phone works. Traditional cell phone networks transmit your voice as radio waves from tower to tower, while VoIP converts the information to a digital signal and sends it through the internet.
A Quick Overview of Our Three Best 800 Number Services
Grasshopper has worked well for my own personal use as an entrepreneur with just a small team. It's a fairly simple service with unlimited minutes. Phone.com and RingCentral are geared a little more toward larger operations, with more features and analytics. They are both quite similar and you'll want to compare them for yourself, but to narrow it down to one outstanding feature for each, I think Phone.com's security/encryption ability to be HIPAA certified is big. And for RingCentral, they have a ‘whisper and barge' feature, where an authorized person can listen in on the call and offer coaching to the employee that the customer can't hear.
We have affiliate relationships with all of these services, which means we receive a commission if you end up purchasing one of them after clicking through our links or using our coupons. These small commissions are what allows us to keep offering helpful content and make a living for our families, so we really appreciate it if you use our links! We've written about these same services before, most recently in 2018, and we're still big fans. There are a handful of other 800 number services out there as well, so look those up too of course, but these are our favorites for the best 800 number services.
Grasshopper is the quick and easy solution to a simple 800 number service (or local, too!)
- Unlimited minutes
- Text from business number
- Auto-text missed callers to keep their business
- Transcribes voicemail to email text
- Receives faxes as email PDFs
- Download the app to smartphone and/or computer
- VoIP is not default but possible
- Use current phone, no new hardware needed
- 800, 888, 877, 866, 855, 844, 833 available
- Vanity numbers available
- Local numbers available
My Personal Favorite: Grasshopper
I’ve used Grasshopper for several years now and interviewed their original founder, David Hauser—so I am a little biased—but for me and my needs, Grasshopper is the best 800 number service. They have a great track record, over 350,000 happy customers, a slick app, and tons of features included with every level of plan—especially unlimited minutes.
Grasshopper VoIP set-up
With Grasshopper, it is a VoIP system, but the default is actually to use your regular cellular network. If you're in a place with Wifi, you probably have cell service, so that’s not a big deal, but just be aware of your minutes use if your cellular plan is not unlimited. Or you can just turn on Wifi as the default in the App, if you prefer VoIP. Grasshopper must be used as a secondary number—you will need to keep your primary number and service as the actual number that the Grasshopper number gets forwarded to.
Simply download the app on your phone and/or computer, and you can: call and text, get voicemails emailed as text, and receive faxes as PDFs—all from the same phone number and which, importantly, is not your personal number. Using a non-personal number helps you screen against spam and overzealous customers, and prepares you to answer the phone in a professional voice.
If you want a vanity number, be ready to be creative and flexible… it’s tough to get exactly what you want. Honestly, I feel like most people just search for your business and click a link to call, so a vanity number seems less important now than it did in the days of infomercials or Mr T.
Easy to Transfer Your Current Number
If you already have a number in use but want the great features offered by Grasshopper, it’s free and easy to transfer your current number to function as a Grasshopper number. And among all this talk of smartphones and VoIP, it should be noted that you can also direct your Grasshopper number to a classic landline phone.
Auto-text Reply to Missed Calls
One of the coolest features is that Grasshopper can automatically text a caller if you missed their call, so you don’t lose that potential customer. If you were busy helping another customer or busy working (or playing!), you can still make contact and make that potential customer feel heard—and save them from taking their business somewhere else!
Free Trial + Pricing
If you’re ready to try it, they currently offer a 7-day free trial period. Otherwise, the most basic plan starts at $26/month for one number and three extensions. $44/month for three numbers and six extensions, or $80/month for 5 numbers and unlimited extensions. If you pay for the whole year at once (“billed annually”) you save 10%, which is what the prices are above. These are the prices in October of 2020 but prices change so double check their site. And remember, we’ve got a special coupon for $75 off—which pays for a good month or three for you. We really appreciate it if you click through our links to any of these services. They are affiliate relationships that help us keep doing what we’re doing!
Phone.com offers analytics, international numbers, and HIPAA security
- Full VoIP cloud-based service
- Includes analytics and storage
- Minutes are NOT unlimited
- International numbers
- Voicemail transcription costs extra $1.50/month
- Integrations with several softwares
- Secure voice and video calls
- AES 256 Bit Encryption
- HIPAA Compliancy option available
Phone.com is another great 800 number service with many additional features. Phone.com is a fully cloud-based VoIP system, which means everything is always through the internet, which means there are trackable analytics and space to store tons of information, like recording your calls (an add-on feature).
There's an App For It, Or, Optional Desktop Phones, Too
Like Grasshopper, there’s an app for it. But they sell actual phones, too. Ranging from $100-300 for a desktop corded phone, to $500+ for a big conference phone for the center of your table. I’m sure these could be useful in some settings, but you don’t need them if you’re fine with using your current smart phone and/or computer.
Phone.com is better geared for international use than Grasshopper, offering local numbers in foreign countries. For example, your UK-based clients could call a number that is familiar to them and it would still route to your Phone.com business number. There is a difference between Standard Countries for $4.99/month and a handful of Premium Countries for $14.99.
Voicemail Transcription Costs Extra
For voicemail, the audio file is automatically sent to your email. But for a transcription to read, it costs $1.50 month. They also offer “human-assisted transcription” for greater accuracy, at 25 cents per transcription.
The service does offer integrations with several other softwares, CRM software like Salesforce, chatbots like Haptik, or many others including Google Docs and Dropbox.
Video Meetings & Security
They also have a video meeting service that looks a little nicer than Zoom. The biggest advantage here would be the overall security, AES 256 Bit Encryption with all plans, and the option of HIPAA Compliancy with the second and third tier video plans.
Cheaper Initially But With Limited Minutes
Plans start quite a bit lower than Grasshopper, however, the minutes are not unlimited. I’ll use the annual billing rate for comparison’s sake. $9.99/month for the basic plan with one phone number and 300 minutes, $14.99 for the popular Plus Account with one number and 500 minutes, or $24.99/month for one number with unlimited minutes. They all include call routing to other phones, but they do not include multiple phone numbers, like Grasshopper does. Try our 25% off coupon for the first three months!
Ring Central allows you to monitor and coach your employees during a call
- Full VoIP and cloud-based
- Includes analytics and storage
- Many office tools beyond just telephone
- Minutes are NOT unlimited
- International numbers
- Voicemail transcription to email included
- Prices vary by number of users and four different plans
- Whisper and Barge feature for call monitoring and coaching
The third 800 number service that we’ll compare is RingCentral. RingCentral is geared toward bigger business, similar to Phone.com. RingCentral is a full VoIP service, which includes more analytics, and they offer global numbers and video conferencing.
Listen in, whisper in, or barge in
They’ve got a number of advanced features and analytics that Grasshopper does not offer. The one that sticks out the most is the set of “advanced call handling” features, including Whisper and Barge: “allow authorized users to listen in on employee calls with clients to monitor the conversation, provide coaching, and facilitate discussion.” Sounds a little strange at first, but would probably be very useful for the right application.
800 Number Service Is Hidden Among Other Features
RingCentral doesn’t highlight their 800 number service. It's just one of their many services for businesses. It takes a few correct clicks and then redirects you to an older version of their site (in October 2020, anyway), so I’ll provide the right link here: https://www.ringcentral.com/office/features/toll-free-numbers/overview.html. The 800 number part of their business is quite similar to Grasshopper or Phone.com.
Their plans offer the biggest savings when billed annually, so I’ll again compare the annual rate. Pay attention to the slider at the top of the Pricing page, which defaults to businesses of 2-20 people, but the numbers go up by $10 if you select it for just one person. So, I’ll compare the annually billed rate for a one person business: $29.99/month for one number with 100 minutes included and up to 20 users (the slider doesn’t totally make sense). $34.99/month starts the Standard Plan with 1000 minutes and unlimited users. $44.99/month includes 2,500 minutes and the Whisper feature. And $59.99/month is the Ultimate Plan with 10,000 minutes.
We have tried to provide an objective review of the many features of three of the best 800 number services, but please explore for yourself, too! There are a handful of other services out there. If you decide to go with one of our recommendations, please click through our links and use our coupons to get the best deal, and we would really appreciate the commission. Swing by our Resources page for a few more helpful software recommendations, too!
What is the most important feature that you're looking for in a business phone service? The 800 credibility, an international number, voicemail to text, HIPAA security, amount of minutes?? Please comment below, and it can help us decide on future content for our site!
Check 'em out for yourself!
Click on through to each site to have a look for yourself and see what fits your business needs!
Thanks again for reading and cheers from Montana,